Welcome to the end of the world. Everyone’s selfishly conceited and toxic to boot. You’re going to die. You’ll die again. Why is a naked person chasing you with a rock? Why indeed. This is Rust. A game dedicated to survival, where the thing most likely to kill you, is usually another player.
After being chased in my underwear across beach after beach, one thing is assured; People can really suck! Considering the game is player vs player vs environment, I’m not at all surprised. It’s the point of the game after all. Survival of the ruthless… or at least survival of those who have the upper hand.
So, what is Rust?
It’s not totally impossible that you have never heard of Rust. It’s traversed up and down in popularity a lot over the years. Although the game has been a surprising mainstay since its original early access release on PC, with many content creators showcasing the game to their audiences. The game first fell into my orbit when I was in high school. I was devouring hours and hours of let’s play videos on YouTube and Rust became synonymous to myself as a chaotic end of the world funhouse of betrayal and death. I’ve wanted to play it for years but with it being on PC only up until now, that hasn’t been an option for me.
“Rust became synonymous… as a chaotic end of the world funhouse of betrayal and death.“
Rust is a survival simulator in most respects. You wake up on a beach in just your underwear after joining any server for the first time. You start with a rock and a torch in your inventory. What happens next is completely up to you. You just need to survive. Obviously, you’ll need to gather resources – food and water are necessary components to survive just as a weapon is.
You’ll likely see other players very early on in-game who are in a much more advanced position. They dart across the landscape, sometimes even chasing each other with all manner of crudely made weapons. If you survive past this stage of the game, then you’d better make yourself a base!
While it’s not focused on a narrative beyond the end of the world as we know it, Rust allows players to roleplay their own survival in such a situation. Given the current state of the world, it’s not an uncommon thought for many. I respect the allowance given to players to play their own way. It’s certainly not a game restrained by morals in the same way Fallout is. Rust almost begs players to do the unthinkable by not having those story consequences in place, even if that is to chase after the new player on the beach with a makeshift shotgun. Anything goes.
The development of Rust
Early on in its inception, Rust garnered a lot of respect for how much they shared after launching into early access in December 2013. Facepunch Studios have provided multiple updates monthly on the game’s development progress, including various snapshots of happenings within the community. It’s a personable touch that’s allowed the PC player base to grow even more invested in the game’s fruition. In February 2018, the game left early access though the team is still dedicated to adding more to Rust over time.
The most recent burst of engagement on the PC version was back in January when the game garnered a lot of attention on Twitch. It got more eyes on the game than ever hitting a massive 244,394 concurrent players. Many content creators have taken advantage of the private server features on the PC version to create their own worlds with other creators or their communities.
What separates Rust from other survival games?
There’s a lot of comparisons one can draw between the game and the likes of Conan Exiles, Ark: Survival Evolved and DayZ. All are simulation games though each places a different spin on survival. What Rust does is somewhat stripped back. There’s no dinosaurs or zombies (anymore). Just the player, the landscape, the wildlife, and of course other players. Tying all these together makes for a surprisingly intense dive into the end of the world as we know it.
“Tying all these together makes for a surprisingly intense dive into the end of the world as we know it.”
The landscape is just as familiar as it is foreign. Maps feature minimal buildings past the actual NPC encampments and player-built bases scattered amongst the static derelict locations across the landscape. Truly, it’s a curious players’ dream, though there often isn’t a lot of time to admire the sights of the world map.
More often than not, you’ll run across another player and if they suspect you have anything good in your inventory, you’ll have a fight on your hands. While Rust isn’t a stealth game, one should proceed with caution. Often losing your inventory can be one of the biggest blows of all in the game, especially when you are carrying rarer items or stacks of resources.
Rust’s long-awaited console debut
With the arrival of the game on console, it’s evident that this version of the game is rather stripped back when compared to its PC counterpart. Really, this is less of a port of the pc version and more of a reboot. It’s the same game, but sections feel as though they’ve been cut off, so hopefully we’ll see those reattached in later updates. This is a release that feels like it’s taking inspiration from No Man’s Sky in how it builds upon itself through free updates over time.
“…it’s evident that this version of the game is rather stripped back when compared to its PC counterpart.”
Being able to finally experience Rust on console has felt like a dream. It starts off well enough, then you get murdered by a naked person with a rock. And then it happens again and again. It’s a harsh awakening to the world of Rust but every server, every new life, brings a new opportunity. You never know what will happen, and if anything that’s what makes Rust interesting.
Survival in the game becomes something primal. It’s not long before you realise players are the main thing to fear. Not only in how the game plays but in general. There’s an undercurrent of cruelty in the game that’s self-imposed. Players experience cruelty from other players and it makes them more inclined to attack back. It makes for a cycle that on console is easily embraced.
So what’s it like joining a server for the first time?
Picking a server is a weird but common opening to a survival game. It’s one of the harder choices because there really is no direction on how to choose. Common sense suggests picking a server in your region, which for Australia means OCEANIA. There is the ability to make your own server though that’s not yet available. Joining a server with a higher population ensures you’ll be up against it, so aim for one under 50 current occupants. The less the better honestly. All that’s left to do now is join.
“Waking up on the beach is bizarre. In that moment there is so much possibility.”
Waking up on the beach is bizarre. In that moment there is so much possibility. It’s borderline overwhelming. The landscape feels uninviting. Structures are minimal, and player structures tend to blend into the scrub until you get closer. There’s every chance you’ll see another player, they could be asleep on the beach or running across the plains. All you’ll find in your inventory is a rock and a torch so if that player is coming towards you, then you could potentially have a fight on your hands. Getting off the beach and beginning to loot for scrap and items is necessary if you wish to survive the harsh environment.
After this point, the game really opens up in several ways. You should be aiming to build a base since you’ll likely have to log out at some stage. Rust servers aren’t just somewhere you leave. When you log out your body goes to sleep in the server world meaning you’re vulnerable.
Base building is a grind though so getting started on gathering resources sooner rather than later will make it easier to build. You’ll also want to upgrade the walls and PLEASE make a metal door. I had a wooden door the first time I logged out after building a base and I came back to find my base ruined due to the weakness. When you do log out, don’t be surprised if you come back to find it ransacked. It will fill you with rage and make you want to raid another player – that’s what Rust is all about!
The takeaway from Rust Console Edition
My experience with the game has been something I didn’t at all expect. While I’ve enjoyed some of the game mechanics and the survival simulation elements, there have also been many reasons to not fully dive in. The console edition of Rust lacks stability. Since the game is still in development, there are bugs, although most have not been that hard to work around. I say most because one bug in particular from the 1.3 patch made the Xbox One version unplayable. You could load the game but servers would refuse to load and boot you to the Xbox home screen. The developers have since patched the issue and it now loads as normal.
The Console Edition is still fresh from launch and as many know with online console games, they do need time to stabilise, but this feels pretty severe. The developers are certainly capable of getting the game to par but as a player, it seems like devoting time to it while it’s updating isn’t worthwhile. While it’s a game that would be fun with a group of friends, I can’t recommend them buying it until it’s improved and includes more of what the PC version of Rust has delivered.
What’s really hurt my experience with the game has been mostly the other players on the servers. Many use the freedom the game gives you to run riot. Even I experienced the mania of freedom that comes with Rust. It feels essential to buy into it if you’re going to have any chance at survival. Playing Rust as a pacifist wouldn’t be impossible but other players will not just leave you be. Part of me wonders if the console audience is, for some reason, more volatile than PC.
I like that Rust is able to create this lawless space, but being at the mercy of other players is awful. One doesn’t know if they’ll still have a base when they load back into the server. One also is fairly outmatched when there are more advanced players on the same server. While it does give you a reason to grind the game and get to their level, why would someone devote that much energy to Rust while it’s in this state?
I’d also warn people to be mindful of the hot mic situation. In my time playing since release, there were two occasions where I encountered players who were not only hostile in-game but over the voice chat as well. This was quite concerning, but as many users of voice chat in online games know, it’s very common. Rust does allow players the ability to deafen other specific players or play with no voice chat at all, which is honestly preferable in general.
“There are only so many times anyone can restart the same grind.”
Survival of the fittest
Rust Console Editon has a steep learning curve that rewards grinding but staying motivated in a game like this is quite difficult. It gives you every reason to rage quit and yet the cherry on top is a hostile player base who seem determined to keep new players from enjoying the experience. I do like the looting aspects of the game, and base building is rewarding, but it’s locked behind grinding resources. There’s also nothing more disappointing than leaving a server after making a base only to return and find it deteriorating to the elements. There are only so many times anyone can restart the grind before they grow tired of the same problems arising.
Should you buy Rust Console Edition?
Wait. The game requires a lot of work and if you’re coming from the PC version you’ll certainly notice the differences more than a fresh player. We’ve seen what the developers are capable of with the PC version so really they just need the time to make this version of the game better. Even getting this game on sale in its current state feels like it would be too soon. Time will make this game way more rewarding and hopefully the players on console will mellow out and stop trying to kill anything with a pulse. With a few friends, this game certainly has the potential to be a lot of fun, but not until there’s more content available in-game.